Daryl Dike is a big reason why Barnsley has clinched a promotion play-off spot, but there is a chance he does not take part in the upcoming decisive matches.
Orlando City has the right to recall Dike from his loan to Barnsley as early as May 4, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel. The deal the MLS side struck with the English Championship team for Dike back in February does not expire until May 31, but the Lions have the option to end the loan before then.
As such, Barnsley is currently negotiating with Orlando City in an attempt to keep the 20-year-old striker for the upcoming playoff fixtures that will determine which final team gets promoted to the English Premier League.
“We are trying to reach an agreement,” Leitao told the Orlando Sentinel. “If they reach an agreement that we can get something that helps it make sense for us to keep Daryl there for another month, that will be fine. If they do not reach an agreement, because Barnsley do not believe that he is worth it, then no problem.
“We are going to call the player back and he is going to help us here in Orlando.”
Orlando City has tied its first two matches of the 2021 MLS season, managing just one goal in those two matches. That scarcity of early-season goal production, coupled with a recent injury to offseason striker acquisition Alexandre Pato, has made bringing Dike back early an even more enticing option.
It will be up to Barnsley and Orlando City to come up with an agreement that makes it worth Orlando City’s while to leave Dike in England for another month. Given his production in England, and the potential financial implications of Barnsley earning promotion, Orlando City is well-positioned to extract a good-sized payment from Barnsley for the loan extension.
Dike has been on a roll for Barnsley, scoring nine goals in 18 matches since joining the side. His contributions have helped the Reds move up into sixth place in the standings in England’s second division, with a chance to finish as high as third if results go their way during the final two match-days.
The American’s goal-scoring exploits have also reportedly caught the eyes of other clubs in England, with one report claiming Orlando City turned down a $10 million offer for him from a current Premier League team.
“We believe in his potential,” said Leitao. “We understand that players, especially in that age, have this desire to go to Europe and play for top tier leagues. I think Daryl has that opportunity, he proved himself to have the opportunity, and we will help him to accomplish his potential and his desire.”
Barnsley is next set to visit Preston North End on Saturday while Orlando City takes on FC Cincinnati later that day.